IMPROVING the mass transport system, not the implementation of a stricter odd-even or color-coding traffic scheme, will unclog traffic in Metro Manila’s streets, according to a ranking Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) official.
In an interview with The Manila Times, LTFRB board member Ariel Inton said the best way for government to solve the traffic problem is by “giving top priority” to all public utility vehicles (PUVs) that ply Metro Manila streets daily.
“We must prioritize these mass transport systems by allowing them first use of our roads. Remember that people who take these PUVs are ordinary workers, students and other simple individuals who only want to arrive at their destination on time. We are not against those who can afford their own vehicles but this is just a matter of prioritization,” Inton explained.
A lawyer and former Quezon City councilor, he admitted that he used to take a jeepney and tricycle to and from his place of work.
“There is no shame in taking a ride on PUVs. However, we must make sure that people arrive their destination on time. That means at a certain period of the day, only PUVs should be allowed to ply major routes,” Inton explained.
“The advantage of having your own vehicle is that you can take alternate routes. This convenience or privilege is lacking in those who ride PUVs because these vehicles have specific routes where they can not deviate from,” he said.
A total ban on specific vehicles or the tightest implementation of traffic schemes based on vehicle plate numbers, according to him, can effectively solve the problem.
“Let’s face it. Those who can afford will only buy a secondary car to escape number coding. In effect, they are contributing to the expansion of the number of vehicles because other family members can use their number coded cars during the daily travel window from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” Inton said.
He argued that once private car owners saw the convenience of a much-improved mass transport system, they may opt to take PUVs instead.
“It may not be as convenient as having to stay in an air-conditioned car but surely it will take you to places on time and you can save your gas money and precious time,” Inton said.
Even the construction of new highways and skyways or the addition of new railway systems will not immediately solve the traffic mess, the official added.
“These things will take time. In fact, it can worsen the situation unless we saw the need to maximize the potential of existing facilities and systems. All we need to do is rationalize their use by really giving top priority to PUVs in road usage,” Inton said.